Cape Verde Coach, Lucio Antunes (R) with Jose Mourinho
Cape Verde pulled off a shock when they held hosts, South Africa, to the first 0-0 result in the history of the Africa Nations Cup, and it all may be due to the influence of Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho.
The Real Madrid coach lent a helping hand to the Portuguese-speaking nation, when he helped the coach, Lucio Antunes, prepare for the biggest assignment the nation has ever faced in football.
“Mourinho is very friendly with the President of Cape Verde so when we qualified, the President spoke to him, and Mourinho then invited me to Real Madrid for one week,” Antunes told CNN's Human to Hero series.
Mourinho is known as "the Special One," a winner of major trophies at top clubs such as Real, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Porto in his native Portugal. He is one of the most sought-after coaches in world football despite his team's difficulties in Spain this season.
Antunes is being hailed as Cape Verde's very own tactical magician, having in October guided the ‘Blue Sharks’ through the final stages of the African qualification process for the first time since the country earned independence from Portugal in 1975, reports futaa.com.
“There is only one 'Special One,’” laughs Antunes.
“He is fantastic, very intelligent and has a big heart, it was a pleasure to meet him.
“I attended five training sessions and two matches, talked tactics with both Mourinho and some of the players, but the main thing I learned was his clarity in terms of his communication with his squad and technical staff.”
The tactics talk would seem to have paid off, as Cape Verde have held the Super eagles of Nigeria to a draw in a friendly game, and have now earned a point in their first Nations Cup game.